Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 12/5/2012 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
NEW YORK -- Finally, some optimism.
A marathon day of collective bargaining meetings between NHL owners and players wrapped up with a sight not previously seen during the 12-week lockout -- deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr standing beside one another at a podium talking about the progress made during negotiations.
"In some ways, I'd say it might be the best day we've had, which isn't too overly optimistic of a picture -- there's still a lot of work to do and a lot to be done," Fehr said after the sides broke just before midnight Tuesday. "We will be back at it tomorrow morning."
The league and union were expected to return to the bargaining table around 9 a.m. today, a couple hours before the start of a board of governors meeting. Daly said that event would go ahead as planned.
With commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr excusing themselves from the bargaining table, players and owners engaged in a stirring round of negotiations. Different variations of the group shuffled between rooms at a midtown Manhattan hotel as whispers of optimism circulated.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was among the 18 players who sat across from six team owners, which included Pittsburgh's Ron Burkle, and those two were said to be strong voices in the room, according to sources.
"Sid's a team guy," said a source close to Crosby. "He's about the game."
Even though Bettman and Donald Fehr stayed out of the official sessions, they were present at the hotel and held private sessions with their constituents.
It was hoped that an altered dynamic at the bargaining table might break the stalemate in talks. Bettman tabled the idea last week after the sides spent two unsuccessful days with U.S. federal mediators.
Four of the owners in attendance were taking part in their first bargaining session -- Burkle, Winnipeg's Mark Chipman, Toronto's Larry Tanenbaum and Tampa's Jeff Vinik -- and were accompanied by Boston's Jeremy Jacobs and Calgary's Murray Edwards, both part of the NHL's negotiating committee.
The players in attendance represented a cross-section of the NHLPA's membership.
Stars like Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Ryan Miller and Brad Richards joined the likes of Ron Hainsey, Mathieu Darche and Kevin Westgarth, who have been heavily involved throughout the summer.
"I appreciate the efforts of the players in particular -- we had 18 players in there today and six of the owners," said Daly. "I think everybody is working hard, I think everybody wants to get a deal done, so I think that's encouraging.
"We look forward to hopefully making more progress tomorrow."
There appeared to be a heightened sense of urgency around negotiations, with the league's board of governors scheduled to gather today and more cancellations expected by the end of the week. All regular-season games through Dec. 14, plus the Winter Classic and all-star game, have already been wiped off the schedule.
Money remains the biggest issue for the sides to bridge.
Even though both the league and union have proposed a 50-50 split of revenues, they remain separated on payments to be made outside the system to help ease the transition from the previous deal, which saw players receive 57 per cent. The NHL has offered $211 million in deferred compensation while the union has asked for $393 million.
There are also a number of rules governing player contracts that must be worked out before a new CBA is signed.
"We're going to work hard to try and get a deal," said Daly.
Business down near NHL arenas
THE NHL lockout is forcing some merchants near hockey arenas into the penalty box but giving power plays to others farther afield, says a report issued Tuesday.
The report by credit and debit card processor Moneris found overall spending at venues near arenas in Winnipeg, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary has decreased more than 11 per cent from a year ago on a game day.
Drinking establishments are being hit hardest, with business falling nearly 35 per cent.
Merchants away from arenas, however, have been benefiting from the 11-week labour dispute, with spending up 5.4 per cent from a game day in 2011.
-- The Canadian Press
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 5, 2012 D1
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Rangers head to 2nd round, await Capitals or Islanders
Wild beat Blues 4-1 behind Dubnyk, take 3-2 series lead
Success in NHL playoffs hinges on star players at their best
Cameron accuses Habs' Prust of cheap shot
NHL Playoff Capsules
Rangers advance on Hagelin's OT goal, 2-1
Craig Anderson backstops Sens over Habs in Game 5
Blues scratch forward Jori Lehtera for Game 5
Canucks say pressure is shifting to Flames
No expansion yet, but Bettman has fee in mind: $500 million
Scott Darling in goal for Blackhawks vs Predators in Game 6
Oilers hire Chiarelli to turn team around
Predators' Weber to miss remainder of Blackhawks series
NHL commish doesn't think 'Katy Perry' chants are sexist
Flames looking to close out series at home
Top 5: Famous facts about the Stanley Cup
Canucks down Flames 2-1 to force Game 6
Predators force Game 6 beating Chicago 5-2 with 4 in 3rd
NHL Playoff Capsules
Johnson, Lightning rally past Detroit 3-2 in OT, tie series
Capitals beat Islanders, Halak 5-1 for 3-2 series lead
Sharks owner endorses rebuilding plan
Gaudreau, Stone, Ekblad named Calder finalists
Fluky bounce gives Red Wings goal in Game 4
Tampa Bay's Garrison back in lineup for Game 4
Ducks surprise themselves with 1st-round sweep of Winnipeg
Rangers, Canadiens out to clinch 1st-round series
Defenceman Hal Gill retires from NHL
Gretzky no stranger to corporate partnerships
Canucks turn to Miller in goal for Game 5
Weber scratched for Game 5, Fisher active for Predators
Islanders' Grabovski set to return for Game 5 against Caps
Banged-up Jets see signs of progress
Sears Canada adds new Gretzky clothing line
Revived Blues stomp Wild
Kesler silences crowd as Ducks sweep Jets
Jets swept out of playoffs by Ducks
Tarasenko, Blues dismantle Wild 6-1 to even series
NHL Playoff Capsules
Kevin Hayes scores in OT, Rangers beat Penguins 2-1